Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Ivan Rakitic Would Be Wise to Leave FC Barcelona This Summer

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, La Liga 20 Aug 2019

Embed from Getty Images

Saying FC Barcelona have an extremely crowded midfield depth, at this point, would be an understatement.

With the 2019-20 LaLiga season already running and with roughly two weeks left in the transfer window, Los Blaugranas have a logjam in the middle of the pitch. Arturo Vidal, Sergio Busquets, Arthur, Sergi Roberto, Carles Aleña, Ivan Rakitic, Frenkie de Jong and Rafinha are all vying for playing time, and that’s not even considering two youngsters who will also alternate in the senior squad: Riqui Puig and Álex Collado.

In other words, Los Blaugranas have eight central midfielders, but only three spots in the starting XI. It’s a typical case of simply having too many mouths to feed, but the solution is simple. Someone will have to leave the club in the next two weeks.

Aleña is not leaving since he’s a promising prospect. De Jong joined this season, and Arthur the previous one so neither is leaving. Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto are vice-captain and fourth captain, respectively, so they are not leaving, either. This leaves us with Rakitic, Vidal and Rafinha as potential departure candidates.

Vidal has had offers, but manager Ernesto Valverde does not want to part ways with him. There is interest regarding Rafinha, but the current offers have not satisfied Barca yet. And what about Rakitic? Valverde recently said the Croatian “will have to worked as hard as ever” to win a starting job, and there has been a lot of interest regarding his services in recent weeks. Therefore, allowing him to leave could be the best solution for all parties involved.

It’s quite simple, really. Letting Rakitic leave would free up some much-needed wage space for Barca. But it would also allow the club to have some fresh funds in the register machine just in case. Let’s remember Barca already spent more than €200million in transfers this summer to acquire de Jong, Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo and Neto. They need to recover that money from somewhere. Or in this case, someone.

PSG have been linked with a move for Rakitic, and Inter Milan have also been interested in the former Sevilla star. The interest is clearly there if Barca announce he’s on the market. Plus, having him at Barcelona right now seems a bit redundant. He is essentially Arturo Vidal, but without the intensity. Or Arthur without the crisp passing ability. He could even be compared to de Jong, but Rakitic doesn’t have the Dutch’s positional ability. So, it seems there are better options for every single role Barca might have in midfield.

Parting ways with a player after a long time it’s never easy, and Rakitic has been playing for Barcelona since the 2014-15 season. But at 31 years of age, he is quickly leaving his best years on the rear view. The best thing Barca could do is to let him leave while he still has value for top teams in Europe.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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